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Families of Memphis Belle crew members share their stories at unveiling

Families of Memphis Belle crew members share their stories at unveiling (WKEF/WRGT)

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The Memphis Belle is finally on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force after a decade of restorations.

The legend of the sky is writing its next chapter in history. The importance of the Memphis Belle can’t be understated.

Tail gunner John Quinlan’s kids flew in from Rhode Island to see the plane their father spoke fondly of.

“I’ve heard about it my whole life, I’ve seen photos of, so it was pretty touching to see it in real life,” Patrick Quinlan said.

Quinlan remembers the stories about his dad’s close call. He was the only member of the original crew to get awarded the Purple Heart for being shot during a mission.

“It was very humble man and said he was just a lucky guy that he made it through the war,” Quinlan said.

All crew members have long passed, but the Belle remains after 25 trips to over Europe during World War II.

When the museum got the plane in 2005, all the original paint was gone. With the help of color films and pictures, two restoration craftsman repainted the iconic woman on both sides.

Also on the nose of the plane, you’ll see bombs. Each represents an accredited combat mission. The swastikas stand for every German fighter shot down and the stars represent the group lead missions.

The pilot leading the team was Colonel Robert Morgan.

“I’m very proud of my dad and everything he accomplish,” Morgan’s daughter Peggy Partin said.

Partin can only imagine what her dad would think of this display.

“He be excited to see the is Memphis Belle’s been taken care of,” Partin said.

The Quinlan family is honored their father was a part of it, wishing he could be here to see the Belle’s next chapter.

“He’d be grinning ear to ear wanting to go up for flight,” Quinlan said.

The Memphis Belle is open to the public starting Thursday at 9 a.m.

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